4. Unique visual identity
Black Panther does not look or feel like any other Marvel film to date and that is due to its unique visual identity. Black Panther is a visual feast of colours, wonderful costumes and multi-tiered sets.
The biggest part of this is all the detail that has gone into bringing Wakanda to life. The Wakanda of Black Panther successfully blends African designs with an advanced technological kingdom, to create an overall effect of a visually striking place that will take cinema goers breaths away.
The cinematography from Rachel Morrison also helps establish Black Panther’s strong visual identity. Morrison was aware of criticism that Marvel films often look flat, and set out straight away to make sure that didn’t happen. Her cinematography helps give Black Panther a wonderful sun-dappled effect and a warm glow throughout.
With so many visual details that pull your eye towards them, Black Panther establishes every frame as unmissable. This also makes Black Panther engaging throughout and is another reason that Black Panther is one of Marvel’s best.
5. Extremely competent director
In only five years, director wunderkind Ryan Coogler has established himself as one of Hollywood’s most competent and sought after directors. Prior to directing Black Panther, Coogler had only directed two other feature films – Fruitvale Station (2013) and Creed (2015). Fruitvale Station won accolades at Sundance Film Festival 2013 and Creed was a critical and financial success.
Both of these films showed that Coogler could effectively tell a story whilst still maintaining raw and brilliant visuals. One of his particular strengths is that he is so adept at transporting the audience into the setting of a film, and making that location feel real and familiar to the audience and that they are a part of that community. This is something that Coogler put to good use in Black Panther when creating the world of Wakanda – the audience was able to quickly become immersed in the location and thus the film.
Coogler has also collaborated previously with both actor Michael B. Jordan who has been in all of Coogler’s feature films, and cinematographer Rachel Morrison who he worked with on Fruitvale Station. In using regular collaborators, Coogler has been able to establish a working relationship in which both parties are in tune with what each other wants and know intimately what their creative vision is.
From cutting his teeth on a low budget indie film to smashing box office records, Ryan Coogler has shown himself to be a proficient, capable and exciting director and was a perfect choice to take on Black Panther.
6. Insanely inclusive
Black Panther has been hailed for its diversity and its success has caused a wave of both theatre goers and theatre owners demanding more films of the same. It can be said without a doubt that Black Panther is Marvel’s most inclusive film, and this is what has most appealed to audiences.
Black Panther has stuck a middle finger up to all those in Hollywood that have the notion that films featuring people of colour are less bankable than their counterparts. With Black Panther breaking box office records, Black Panther has surpassed expectation and has become a financial and critical smash.
The inclusive message of Black Panther has even inspired what has come to be known as ‘The Black Panther Challenge.’ This is where money has been raised to help thousands of children see Black Panther for free. The theme of community runs strongly through Black Panther and helping communities to go and see a superhero that they can relate to, is yet another example of the monumental impact that Black Panther has had on inclusivity and audiences.
Strong female characters, an almost entirely black cast and black talent behind the camera makes Black Panther Marvel’s most inclusive film yet. Inclusivity is a fundamentally important part of film and it only makes sense that film’s biggest franchise ever should be a part of that. Hopefully Black Panther’s success will inspire Marvel to follow with more films of the same.
7. Sick soundtrack
The right soundtrack not only has the ability to elevate a film for the audience but also to contribute to the film’s overall style and tone. Often you won’t even notice a film’s soundtrack or it will quickly be forgotten once you have left the theatre. However every once in a while, a soundtrack will come along which will not only increase your engagement in the film but will also stick with you after the film is over.
Director Ryan Coogler chose American rapper and songwriter Kendrick Lamar to produce and curate Black Panther’s soundtrack because his “artistic themes align with those we explore in the film.” Lamar was originally only going to contribute a few songs to the soundtrack but after seeing the film, he decided that he wanted to produce the whole album. The majority of the soundtrack features Lamar collaborating with other artists including on the track entitled ‘All the Stars’ with artist SZA, which was the first single released from the album. It reached the top ten in multiple charts around the world.
Black Panther’s soundtrack stands out, fits well with the film’s tone, style and themes, and is yet another example of why Black Panther is one of Marvel’s best films. Now all together, “This maybe the night that my dreams might let me know, all the stars are closer, all the stars are closer…”
Author Bio: Cara McWilliam-Richardson is a writer with a passion for films and filmmaking. She has written several screenplays, and is currently working on her first novel. Her favourite genre to write is fantasy and science fiction.